Featured American Writer

Stepahanie Kaplan Cohen

Editors notes: The following story, "To My Granddaughters" is an excerpt from Gifts from Our Grandmothers, a collection of stories that celebrates the lessons and love that grandmothers and granddaughters exchange across the generations. Warm but not fuzzy, the stories are wry, smart, moving slices of life that reflect the wisdom, talent, and good humor of grandmas everywhere. The grandmothers honored in the anthology hail from varied ethnic backgrounds.

The women remembered in these pages gave something of themselves to make someone's life a little better, not only through intangible acts of kindness, but also through their attitudes of acceptance and caring. They knew the world could be changed one heart at a time. These recollections are proof that their faith was not misplaced. The foreword is by Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, the granddaughter of the former First Lady, and the book concludes with a scrapbook section in which women can record their own grandmother memories.

Gifts from Our Grandmothers bookcoverEditor of Gifts from our Grandmothers, Carol Dovi is a life strategist who helps individuals and groups attain their highest potential through her workshops. Her greatest teacher and mentor was her grandmother, Frances Dovi, who taught her that love is the highest principle of all. Carol began the project of collecting stories for Gifts From Our Grandmothers because of a mid-life ‘reassessment.' The process of editing the anthology deeply connected Carol to the gifts she received from her grandmother.

This hardcover book is available from Amazon.com (Crown Publishers) If you are interested in translating some or all of the stories in Gifts From Our Grandmothers into Ukrainian please email us with a brief biography (no attachments please!)

To My Granddaughters

You come from a long line of brave foremothers,
Warrior foremothers,
Who knew without books to tell them they owned their destiny,
Who knew that tears are only useful as soap and water for the soul.
You had a great-great-great grandmother who knit the stock ings for her village and kept the family fed. She was blind.

One of your great-great grandmothers saved her family. For two years she walked around her native Poland, carrying her baby in one arm and small sewing items in her other arm. She earned passage for herself and two of her children to come to America. She joyfully reunited with her husband and two older children in a three room flat in a Brooklyn tenement. Chanah Kaplan never stopped loving life and making fun. At eighty, she took a new husband and swam the waves at Coney Island.

Another of your great-great grandmothers, Rachelle Dreigerman Schreibman who seemed so timid, marched with her children and husband across borders in the dead of night. They had no passports and could not bear the thought of their children living through another Pogrom. In this country she did quiet battle to educate her children, the youngest of whom, to her joy, earned a college diploma.

Your great grandmother August Schreibman Kaplan was a slip of a thing, but she too was a warrior, as tall and strong as the mightiest oak. She started out as an errand girl in a factory. In her twenties, she owned her own millinery store. This was in the days before women even had the right to vote. She wanted for her children all the things that would make them secure and accomplished, providing us with dancing lessons, piano lessons, elocution lessons. We wore braces on our teeth and iron arches in our shoes. We learned to type, just in case. In her seventies, she drove to a far away state, where she made a new and happy life for herself.

I am your grandmother. In my life it has been necessary for me to reach back to our foremothers and remember to be brave, to take chances, to trust and love myself. My life is not done but I would not change a minute of it. I have worked hard, had the joy and pain of raising wonderful children, and the rapture of meeting my grandchildren. I am still amazed and interested by the new discoveries of myself.

I wish for you, beloved grand daughters, joy, health and the courage to be the most you can be.

Stephanie Kaplan Cohen

A note from the author:

Stephanie Kaplan Cohen"I write about grandmothers because I am one. I was fortunate enough to know my four grandparents, and I wanted my children and my grandchildren to know their background.

Ukrainian people revere their "Babushkas." I was fortunate enough to be brought up by a family who also cared very much about their extended families. We all drew strength from knowing the hardships they surmounted to become loving joyful parents and grandparents.

I live in the suburbs of New York. I have three children and eight grandchildren, all of who are exceptional in all ways. I began my writing career nine years ago, at the age of sixty-three. I have published my work in newspapers, literary journals, university presses and anthologies."

Stephanie Kaplan Cohen

P.O. Box 1077
South Fallsburg, NY 12779
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